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Axis & Allies Campaign: Guadalcanal
"How to" Guide
by David Devere & Tom Maertz

The Battle of the Solomon Islands raged from Guadalcanal to Bougainville finally ending with the Allies taking complete control of the island group only after Japan surrendered in August, 1945. The Guadalcanal board game is designed to present players with both the tactical and strategic problems encountered by both sides during the war. In the board game success is determined by control of islands and airfields. The game plays quickly and at the start it economically favors the Japanese. The Americans must take islands quickly and then rapidly fortify them to successfully repel the impending Japanese counter attack.

In the last campaign High Command controlled all the strategic aspects. In this campaign we are letting the players dictate where the capital ships should move. Since capital ships often lead the point of attack you the player will determine the broad strategy. High Command will still move transports, destroyers, cruisers, aircraft and troops and we will conduct builds at the end of the turn determined on the success or failure of the combat round.

Combat is where you come in. Sea and ground battle will be fought by you. Each week we will issue battle tickets and it is your responsibility to play out the battle as dictated by the tickets and report them by the deadline to If you played the last campaign this will seem very familiar to you but we did change a few things. Since this campaign is all about islands you can be guaranteed that there will be many sea battles.

Let’s look at how to read a Battle Ticket and a Fleet Action. Both Battle Tickets and Fleet Actions are snapshots of forces that will be available to you. Both represent units on the strategic board and both have things in common that will determine how you can build your force.

Here are things to remember when building your force:

  • Date Specific: For Guadalcanal we will start in 1942 and then turns 2-4 will be set in 1943. Remember to take units only if they are available in the right game date. That means, for example, that Japanese War at Sea players can forget about using the new Kamikaze unit as it is dated 1944 on the stat card.
  • Country Specific: This is pretty easy. Americans vs. Japanese. Leave everyone else in the box.
  • Points: Each side is given a specific build point total. Any unspent points are lost.
  • Battle Number: This number is referred to when reporting on an After Action Report.

Fleet Actions dictate the War at Sea game. A Fleet Action notes: date, number and type of ships required, and the victory conditions. You have to include these ships in your build first before taking any additional ships.

  • Build Restrictions: Players are required to buy the units listed before spending the remaining points on any other unit available on that year or before.
  • Victory Points: Fleet battles won’t always be 100 points vs. 100 points. They will often be bigger. Victory Points equal the total amount needed to win the game. Use this total divided by three to determine the value of each objective.

In the last campaign only the defender was allowed to choose command decisions, now we’ve made it so that both sides choose on option and the defender chooses first. Most of the options are self explanatory but the last one (Both sides get 25 points of reinforcements on turn 4) needs a little more explanation. At the beginning of turn 4 both players can build an additional force of up to 25 points. These units deploy on each player’s ship deployment area or airbase before rolling initiative. Subtract any reinforcement points used to build this additional force from the remaining troop points on the After Action Report. Also, we’ve created a new unit for this campaign: the Shore Battery.

Shore Batteries

In the board game, artillery pieces on islands add to your total dice thrown and can help sink ships. When designing this campaign, we wanted to preserve the attributes of the original board game as much as possible. Therefore, we created the Shore Battery. Shore Batteries are weak but given a chance they might be able to dissuade a ship from moving too close to their sector. Shore Batteries can be placed in any shoreline sector or on any island card anywhere on the map except in your opponent’s setup area. Their special ability (Fixed Position: Whenever an enemy damages this unit, roll a die. On a 4 or higher, place a rearming counter on the unit and take no damage from that attack.) allows them to negate an attack but if they do negate the attack they must spend a round rearming before becoming active. The player that sets up first, places their Shore Battery first and opposing Shore Batteries can occupy the same sector. We recommend using artillery pieces from an Axis and Allies board game to represent Shore Batteries on the War at Sea maps, but anything both players agree to is suitable.

Battle Tickets are different from Fleet Actions in these ways:

  • Build Points are Limited to Soldier and Wild: Soldier and wild points on the Battle Tickets are represented on the strategic board by infantry and artillery/aircraft respectively. Soldier points can only be used to build soldiers and obstacle type units as listed on the stat card. Wild points can be used to purchase any unit type. Both sides in this campaign will be fighting without armor support. Therefore wild points will be necessary for the purchase of aircraft, or more soldiers. If you don’t have any wild points listed on the battle ticket you can’t build aircraft for that battle.
  • Rules Box: In the last campaign we allowed units to retreat and salvage enemy equipment. This time there is no retreating and no salvaging. The fighting in the Solomon’s was some of the most desperate ever witnessed in WWII. Your guys are on the island. There are only two ways to leave - go through the enemy or out on a stretcher.

Also, in the Battle Tickets we’ve made it so that both sides get to choose a Command Decision. Options 1-3 are self explanatory. Number 4 which is about reinforcements works just like reinforcements in Fleet Actions (Both sides get 12 points of reinforcements on turn 4). Number 5, Air Support, is completely new.

Since the naval side of the game got a new piece, Shore Battery, and the battle for the island of Guadalcanal was about controlling an airfield we thought we’d add another special unit to the campaign, the Airfield. An Airfield removes disruption from any friendly aircraft at the beginning of the movement phase and the controlling player receives a -1 to their air support roll. Airfields must be placed in the controlling players setup area and if at any time an enemy unit is adjacent to an airfield it becomes contested and loses its special abilities.

The After Action Report is how you submit your results to High Command. Here is a look at the different fields that need reporting.

  • Battle Number: This is important. We need to know which battle you are reporting for.
  • Victor vs. Defeated: Note the side that won and your name or nickname.
  • Victor Points Destroyed: This is the amount of troops the winner destroyed during the course of the battle. Add all the destroyed enemy units and report the total.
  • Objective Taken: In land battles, with one objective, it is obvious which one took the objective, but on the naval side it is possible to take fewer objectives or no objectives and still win the battle. Either way, report the total taken.
  • Defeated Points Destroyed: This is the amount of troops the loser destroyed during the course of the battle. Add all the destroyed enemy units and report the total.
  • Something Spectacular? If something in your game happened that was unusual, overly heroic or down right uncanny report this in a short summary and High Command might include the report in the weekly update.

Final Thoughts

This Campaign Game relies on your participation. This event will only be a success if you make it so. Remember, you have one week to play and report the Battle Tickets and Fleet Actions. We encourage you to print out the Tickets and Actions and play with your friends face to face, online or even solo. Play the tickets as much or as little as you like - just play them and report. We will average the reports to determine the outcome of the battles. You can use any house rule you’d like, and if you don’t have the required pieces you can break the restrictions of the tickets or actions by first breaking unit limits, then year, followed by type and country if necessary. But try and stay as close to the letter of the ticket as possible.

Next week we present you with your first strategic options. Which island or islands will the Americans strike? Can the Japanese guess correctly and be in position to quickly put American on the defensive?

It’s summer, it’s hot and it’s humid. Let’s head to the South Pacific and engage in close quarter fighting in the Jungle. Remember to pack your mosquito net and take plenty of ammo for the Garand.

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